The debut release from two of Nashville’s better singer-songwriters, Amy Stroup and Trent Dabbs, is meant to be something of an odd bird. From the sometimes coy lyrics to the jangly rhythms and grooves, the album’s eight tracks are straight out of the 50s and 60s, and in a time when it would be easy to write commentaries on the woes of the world 2012-style, they choose instead to give things a more upbeat perspective. It’s something of a departure from their solo material, but it works pretty well when all is said and done.
Tracks like “Stubborn Lover” show that even when a song on the record isn’t as peppy as previous ones, they can give it a fun spin by spelling out “stubborn” as part of the chorus, thereby making the song more sing-songy. Other tracks like “Two Day High”—which is already fun enough with its 50s-style rock—are given a lift by clever metaphors like the following: “I’ve been buzzin’ round your honey/And babe I want it all for me.” And then there is the playful sensuality of “This Can’t Be the Last Time” where Stroup playfully keeps asking, “When can I get your lovin’ again?” From the varied musical selections to the catchy wordplay, these two definitely know how to groove.
Stroup and Dabbs have fun on this record and they complement each other perfectly as neither of them really outshines the other. There are times when Stroup’s vocal performances feel unnecessarily muted as though she is trying extra hard not to overpower Dabbs, but this is a minor quibble. By the time you get through the foot-stomping, hand-clapping, saloon-style rocking finale, “Skip the Line,” you should have a grin on your face.